A wild, wet world

Rain is the name of the game this year. The good news is that there are cobwebs covering the garden hose, we’ve had to water so infrequently. However, excessive rainfall comes with its own issues. We’re having to reroute our gutter downspouts and invest in some improvements to our basement (did I say basement? I meant swamp). The garden’s holding up pretty well, but we’re starting to see the effects of all the rainfall there, too.

One thing I noticed was a nice little crop of tall, thin mushrooms beneath the tomato plants. Was this a bad sign? I did a little research online and found several questions posted in forums. Here was the answer from an expert on BHG.com (most of the other answers said similar things):

Mushrooms are a sign that your soil is rich and slightly moist. They don’t do any harm to the garden and there is nothing you can really do to eliminate them except to make sure you aren’t watering too much.

Excellent – no need to worry about those!

However, the lush, drooping tomato plants are beginning to show signs of blight – yellowing, brownish leaves toward the bottom of the plants. Some of the stems and leaves were touching the soil, which is never a good idea. Recently, following the method I discovered last year, I tried to clean them up a bit. Here’s the step-by-step again, quoted from last July’s post:

  1. Gather some big trash bags.
  2. Carefully remove ALL the yellow, brown, or spotty foliage from the tomato plants and put it in the garbage bag to be sealed and thrown into the trash. Also collect any brown diseased foliage that’s fallen down under the plants. I learned that you don’t want to leave any of the stuff behind – it’s contagious!
  3. Be really careful not to touch the foliage that isn’t diseased, because you can spread the disease.
  4. Wash your hands. Twice, preferably.
  5. Once all the bad stuff is removed, spray the Serenade spray onto the healthy leaves and stem. It forms a sort of barrier against infection. If it doesn’t rain for 24 hours after you spray, you can spray once a week. If it’s been raining a lot, spray every 4-5 days.

In addition to these steps, I added some more stakes and ties to the hodge-podge of supports that are propping up my tomato plants. I couldn’t help but think of the sagging, propped-up face of Salvador Dali’s “Sleep 1937” – seems a matter of time before the plants sink back to the ground.

With the leaves cleaned up and most of the fruits supported for now, the tomato bed is looking better!

Tomatoes cleaned up - NC Garden Gals

Imagine all that empty space above the ground filled in with a mess of yellow leaves and stems. That’s what the “before” picture would have looked like (if I took one).

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